By MORGAN MANNS
Fostoria’s annual summer shindig has been renamed and reinvented, featuring new activities and opportunities for family fun.
The former Fostoria Glass Heritage Festival will kick off at 5 p.m. July 18 and continue into the evening of July 19.
SummerFest, as it is now called, was given a more general name to better coincide with its festivities, according to planning committee member Hannah Nusser.
“Glass isn’t really featured anymore during the festival,” she said. “We wanted to give it a more general name that reflected a summertime fun kind of festival.”
Nusser said the Glass Heritage Gallery, 109 N. Main St., will still be open and typically receives numerous visitors during the weekend.
In addition to the name change, the committee has planned a variety of new activities and games for this year’s festival. Nusser said the changes were a result of cost as well as “trying to do something different to see what the community likes.”
In place of the amusement rides, there will be a variety of inflatable toys for children’s enjoyment July 19, including an obstacle course, a large slide, a bounce house and a pony hop race track set, which allows four individuals to race each other while bouncing on inflatable horse bodies.
Prices for these activities have not yet been set; however, an all-you-can-jump wristband will be available for $10 from 5-7 p.m. as part of a family night special.
An enchanted afternoon is planned for the first 50 girls ages four and older to purchase tickets for The Little Princess Luncheon slated for July 19. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge, 113 E. Tiffin St., princesses will have the opportunity to partake in a tea party lunch, manicures and fairy face painting, decorate a magical wand, fairytale story time and a photo shoot with Queen Elsa from “Frozen.”
“From other festivals and parades, (our 2013 glass court) realized this is something that a lot of kids in the community like,” Mayor Eric Keckler said. “We want to give them a chance to meet our 2014 Glass Court, be pampered, and meet Elsa. We want them to feel like princesses for a day.”
Each girl will receive a rhinestone tiara to wear and take home. Tickets are $15 per person or $25 for two and are on sale in the mayor’s office through July 11.
There will also be a petting zoo, kiddie tractor pulls and other kid-friendly games and activities for the younger festival-goers.
For the adult crowd, SummerFest will host a wine tasting from 5-8 p.m. July 18 at 105 S. Main St. The menu will include an assortment of local wines with light hors d’oevres.
“The tasting will hopefully showcase what local wineries have to offer,” Keckler said. “After community members taste the wine, they’ll know what to expect and can visit the wineries.”
Cost is $15 per ticket or $25 for two tickets. Seating is limited and the tickets are available for pre-sale only in the mayor’s office.
A beer tent will also be set up and open until midnight both days. Musical entertainment on July 18: Klashing Black and Tongue N Groove; and July 19: Danny Opperman & Audrey Lee, Connor Rose, and Fast Axle & the Rusty Spokes.
A Motorcycle show will take place July 19 in the afternoon. Motorcyclists can register their bikes by contacting the mayor’s office. No entry fee will be charged and registration will be accepted up until shortly before the show.
“It’s something different,” said planning committee member Brandon Bell. “There are lots of car shows and we know there are a lot of people with motorcycles in town so we thought this would be something different for community members to check out. People take pride in their motorcycles and this is a way to show them off.”
The bikes will be parked on South Main Street between East North and East Center streets, according to Bell.
Several awards will be given for various categories, which have not yet been finalized. All judging will be by popular vote of the public.
Also July 19, SummerFest will host a Lift-a-Thon fundraiser. Athletic teams from Fostoria and St. Wendelin schools can sign up to participate in various lifting exercises from bench press to leg press to squats to dead lifts, according to Bell.
“It’s not so much a contest, but a thing to build camaraderie between the students and the schools,” he said.
Teams or individuals will be responsible for asking for monetary donations. Each donation can be per pound or rep or can be a flat amount. All money raised will go towards a charity of the teams’ choosing. The goal is to receive at least $50 per student.
Entry forms will be handed out to coaches by the end of the week, according to Bell. Registration is due by July 17.
“We wanted to get everyone in the community involved,” Bell said in reference to the Lift-a-Thon and the Motorcycle Show. “To reach out to different groups that don’t always get the recognition they deserve and to appeal to various groups within the community.”
Other weekend activities include the following:
• Geary Family YMCA Annual 5K run, which will begin at 7 p.m. July 18. Registration begins at 6 p.m. in the Fostoria Municipal Building Lawn. Entry fee is $15. Awards will be given to the top three overall male and female contestants for a total of six awards.
• Fostoria Rail Preservation Society will be open from 5-8 p.m. July 18 and noon to 7 p.m. July 19 with free kid’s train rides. Bob Lorenz Fostoria railroad photos and prints will be for sale.
• Fostoria Community Arts Council will sponsor an Antique and Homemade Craft Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 19. The show will take place in the Bankquet Hall at 125 S. Main St.
• Fostoria Historical Society and new Annex Building will be open from 5-7 p.m. July 18 and noon to 5 p.m. July 19.
• Farmer’s Market will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 19 in the old KeyBank lot, 133 W. Tiffin St.
The planning committee consists of representatives from the mayor’s office, Fostoria Community Arts Center, Fostoria Area Historical Society, Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce, volunteers and more, including Nusser, Keckler, Bell, Renee Smith, Ellen Gatrell, Ron Hanson, Leah Hipsher, Pamela Smith, Browning Payne, Scott Scherf, Leonard Skonecki, Shelly Garcia, Joe Droll, Kim Rickle, Kristi Sprow and the 2014 Glass Court.
Details have not all been finalized and all details are subject to change. For more information, call the mayor’s office at 419-435-8282 or visit www.facebook.com/FostoriaSummerfest.
“This should be a really fun weekend in Fostoria,” Keckler said. “We have a lot of new things this year and we’re hoping more members of the community come out and participate and have a good time.”